In Dark Age America: The End of the Old Order, Greer wrote about the usefulness of waste in his model of catabolic collapse.*
As I pointed out in a paper published online back in 2005—a PDF is available here—the process that drives the collapse of civilizations has a surprisingly simple basis: the mismatch between the maintenance costs of capital and the resources that are available to meet those costs. Capital here is meant in the broadest sense of the word, and includes everything in which a civilizations invests its wealth: buildings, roads, imperial expansion, urban infrastructure, information resources, trained personnel, or what have you. Capital of every kind has to be maintained, and as a civilization adds to its stock of capital, the costs of maintenance rise steadily, until the burden they place on the civilization’s available resources can’t be supported any longer.Detroit has long been neglecting the manufactured capital of its infrastructure because it has unable to maintain it, but I don't recall it actively converting the resources locked up in its neglected and obselete infrastructure--until now. Take it away, Detroit Free Press: Detroit to make $25M from scrapping its own copper.
The only way to resolve that conflict is to allow some of the capital to be converted to waste, so that its maintenance costs drop to zero and any useful resources locked up in the capital can be put to other uses.
Detroit is turning to a source to make money post-bankruptcy: Its own supplies of copper.Note the "at least." The same consultant thought that up to 40 million dollars could be realized from recycling all the copper that the city no longer needs. No wonder Detroit is thinking about doing this.
The city is privatizing and decommissioning its electricity delivery services, and over the next six years expects to make at least $25 million from the sale of copper in underground and overhead electricity lines, a top financial consultant to the city testified this morning in Detroit's bankruptcy proceedings.
Follow over the jump for more on Detroit officially joining the salvage economy.